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Mesaana and Alviarin vs. Mesaana and Sheriam


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So, we know that Mesaana was in the White Tower, and really only interacted with Alviarin.  And every time she interacted with Alviarin, she was fully cloaked (Mask of Mirrors, weaves inverted, strength hidden, etc.).

But when Mesaana (we assume) Travels to the rebel camp to have a talk with Sheriam in Towers of Midnight, she's still disguised, but Sheriam specifically marvels at how much stronger Mesaana is than she is.

So I guess my question is WHY?  Why does she hide her strength from Alviarin and not from Sheriam?  The only thing I can think of is that the rebel camp has lots of strong channellers around, so a Forsaken-level channeller wouldn't be too out of place there, what with Nynaeve and Sharina being associated with them, especially with Mesaana being on the weaker side of the Forsaken.  But it still seems risky to me.  Mesaana's still strong than Egwene, and aside from Sharina, no one had said anything about any of the novices being stronger than Egwene.

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It could be that Mesaana wanted to impress Sheriam in one way, and Alviarin a different way. Alviarin, as the head of the black ajah, was trying to figure out which sister was really Mesaana in disguise, while Sheriam just knew that Mesaana was giving orders. 

 

Why is it that several Mistress of Novices were black ajah?

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Why is it that several Mistress of Novices were black ajah?

It's a perfect position for a black sister.  It's not as difficult to obtain as a sitter or Ajah head, she gets to see and exert influence on young, impressionable novices and accepted, and is privy to tons of gossip at all levels.  I would venture to guess that other than than sitter or head of an ajah, it would be the most coveted position in the tower the BA could get.

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It could be that Mesaana wanted to impress Sheriam in one way, and Alviarin a different way. Alviarin, as the head of the black ajah, was trying to figure out which sister was really Mesaana in disguise, while Sheriam just knew that Mesaana was giving orders. 

 

Why is it that several Mistress of Novices were black ajah?

 

This. Mesaana was someone in the Tower. Alviarin knew that. Mesaana had to disguise her power with her so that Alviarin couldn't just walk around comparing in search of Mesaana.

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But Mesaana is a strong channeller.  She's stronger than any of the Tower AS.  She's not walking around the Tower with her full strength unveiled.  A channeller of her caliber would be instantly noticed.  She's dampening her full strength when in her sister disguise, and hiding it completely when she's giving Alviarin orders.

She actually hurts her own position when she unveils her full strength to Sheriam, because (still according to the 13th Depository saidar listing) she's weaker than Nynaeve, and not that much stronger than Egwene and Elayne.

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, because (still according to the 13th Depository saidar listing) she's weaker than Nynaeve, and not that much stronger than Egwene and Elayne.

Aww man are you kidding me?! Poor form, Forsaken. Poor form. I always thought Nynaeve was only on par with Mogheiden. Who was the weakest of the Forsaken by a large margain.

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Oops.  I was right about Nynaeve being stronger (level 18), but wrong about where I thought Mesaana was.  She's on level 17, but I thought she was on level 16 with Moghedien.  Elayne, Egwene, and Aviendha are all level 15.  Semirhage is also on level 18 with Nynaeve, while Graendal is on level 19. Cyndane is level 20, and Lanfear (the peak of saidar strength) is level 21.

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and is their any way to equate Saidar strength to Saidin strength? I know Saidin is stronger, but I mean stuff like a 21 in Saidar is a 15 in Saidin or something

 

Jordan never ranked male channelers in the same way. Considering how strength in the OP is a part of Aes Sedai heirarchy, Jordan kept a ranking system for them, so that if he put two in a scene he'd know how their relationship, at least command-wise, should be. I'd say that the ranking of saidin channelers would just have additional levels. A fifteen saidin channeler would be the same strength as a fifteen saidar channeler, but males are capable of higher levels than female. In terms of one-on-one matching, though, Jordan has said that woman tend to be more dexterous (and maybe even effective) wielding saidar than men are with saidin, so a woman of a lower ranking in strength could still match a slightly higher ranked man in a duel.

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I think he said that while ladies/saidar only went to 21 levels, dudes/saidin went to ...I want to say 24, but 26 keep popping into my head.  But it is on the same scale.  A Saidar 15 is the same as a Saidin 15, strength-wise.  However, women tend to be more dexterous with their weaving, so that Lanfear's 21 matched up evenly with LTT and Ishmael's 24.

Linking isn't described as nicely anywhere in the series as I would like it to be.  We know that when women link, it doesn't necessarily add their power together.  For instance, level 15s Egwene and Elayne won't link to become level 30.  I think they do link to become level 16 or 17, though.  Linking also reinforces the weaves, making them more effective and/or harder to resist.  And being linked makes it harder to shield them.  But there's no real description of how the Power increase happens with Saidin and Saidar, though.

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Linking also increases the lead channeler's "pool" of the OP, so that while the power of weaves from a 15+15 might only equal 18 or so, their stamina would be doubled.  I got the impression that an angreal's or sa'angreal's effect would be doubled as well, since you can pump twice as much OP through it, could be wrong though.

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, because (still according to the 13th Depository saidar listing) she's weaker than Nynaeve, and not that much stronger than Egwene and Elayne.

Aww man are you kidding me?! Poor form, Forsaken. Poor form. I always thought Nynaeve was only on par with Mogheiden. Who was the weakest of the Forsaken by a large margain.

Actually, that's not nearly as supported as people tend to claim. Which is to say that unless Brandon has said something new recently (not that I have complete faith in his words anyway), Moghedien being the weakest is pure fan speculation.

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really? All of them adopt tactics like Mog's during the Third Age (subterfuge and manipulation and information control) You'd think they'd have at least some respect for her (I notice that a lot of the Forsaken mention things they do almost admire about the other forsaken whenever we're in their point of view.

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The Forsaken don't tend to rank themselves on strength in the Power, so I think their disdain of Moghedien and Asmodean comes from their general sense of unwillingness to confront their attackers face-to-face and participate in battles, at least during the Age of Legends.  Which is funny when looking at the events of the books, because despite being captured after their respective battles, they fought the best.  At least in the sense that neither of them died at the hands of one of the main characters.  Which is something that only Graendal has also achieved...kind of.

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The Forsaken don't tend to rank themselves on strength in the Power, so I think their disdain of Moghedien and Asmodean comes from their general sense of unwillingness to confront their attackers face-to-face and participate in battles, at least during the Age of Legends.  Which is funny when looking at the events of the books, because despite being captured after their respective battles, they fought the best.  At least in the sense that neither of them died at the hands of one of the main characters.  Which is something that only Graendal has also achieved...kind of.

I don't think you can say someone fought "the best" if the only reason they survived was due to the enemy KEEPING them alive.

 

As of book 10 (just finished) I'd say so far  Rahvin has fought the best. In the sense that he won his fight and only lost because the Pattern hates him.

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Personally, I would say that fighting the best doesn't count if you die at the end of the battle.  That was my justification for saying that Moghedien and Asmodean were "the best."  Rahvin (and Lanfear, I think) both did really well, but they still died and/or were otherwise incapacitated.

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So, we know that Mesaana was in the White Tower, and really only interacted with Alviarin.

 

In a "A visit by Verin Sedai," Verin told Egwene that she met Mesaana twice. So, her interactions in the WT are presumable wider that Alviarin. A Foresaken would never trust one underling with all the work and all the information. Alviarin would probably use that to her advantage. And Mesaana would be on guard against potential coups. 

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